Researchers recently ranked the antioxidant content of over 3000 foods and found strawberries to be among the top three antioxidant containing foods after blackberries and walnuts. The humble strawberry, easy to grow, delicious in smoothies and best by the basketful from the Farmers Market in late Spring is also doing a warriors job of mopping up free radicals that roam around your body causing cellular damage and death.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are created as a result of the process of oxidation – which is a substance combining with oxygen. Oxidation is a process that is crucial to life and is part of the body’s normal metabolism and therefore pants and animals have built in antioxidant systems, but we can help the body out by consuming bright, colorful plant foods to boost the supply.
When are strawberries at their best?
Strawberries are ideally eaten as soon after picking as possible. Research shows that the amount of vitamin C and other antioxidants goes down dramatically after 2 days. Choose strawberries at their most vibrant red-pink color since it’s been found that underripe or overripe berries have fewer of the valuable phyto-nutrients our bodies thrive on.
Other fruits pale in comparison to berries in terms of antioxidants. Apples and bananas, the most commonly consumed fruits in America have less than a fifth of the antioxidant polyphenols of berries – and mango, the most popular fruit worldwide, has less than half.
So feed those red beauties to your kids, eat them yourself and buy them fresh when you can. Frozen is good too especially if they look like they were vibrantly ripe when frozen (sadly, I often find large whitish pink berries in the frozen berry section with little flavor). You can also pick them fresh on Sauvie Island and freeze them yourself. You will be glad you did when the winter months drag on and you can pull a little bit of summer out of your freezer boosting your antioxidant power as well. Yum.
Try this recipe for a Strawberry Tart with an almond crust.
To your best health!
Cassandra Mick, CNE